Silk and Steel
I have always meant to pick up a Kat Martin book, but life moves in mysterious ways and somehow I never did – which is why I am now so glad that I got to review Silk and Steel, a sequel to Nothing but Velvet. If you prefer the kind of book where you can’t stop worrying about the characters until the last page, this would be a good one to try.
Our hero and heroine’s first meeting takes place under some very tricky circumstances. A filthy and bedraggled Kathryn Gray tells Lucien Montaine, Marquess of Litchfield, that the reason she’s stowed away in his coach is because she was kidnapped and has just escaped from the villains’ clutches, and could she please stay with him until her father comes to pick her up?
Although Lucien agrees to let Kathryn stay at Castle Running, he knows that the story isn’t all true – and he’s right. Actually, Lady Kathryn Grayson was committed to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital (to use the word loosely) for the Insane, because her greedy uncle, the Earl of Dunstan, wants to keep her from her inheritance. She figures that telling Lucien the truth would be as good as having her uncle find out that she’s escaped from St. Bartholomew’s, so she makes up the abduction story. By the time Lucien’s messenger goes to Milford Park, her parents’ home, and returns to tell Lucien what is really going on, Kathryn will have figured out what to do and be far away from Lucien.
Lucien, about to be married to shallow Allison Hartman, is furious when he finds out he’s been lied to, and even more so when a desperate Kathryn tricks him into compromising and marrying her. Lucien’s initial chill toward his new bride eventually gives way to unrelenting mutual passion, but Kathryn wants more substance than just the life of a society wife. Her main interest, healing the human body, is one Lucien finds strange and inadequate for a marchioness – even more so considering that it was this interest that got Kathryn locked up at St. Bartholomew’s – and proves to be the one area in their marriage where neither will give in.
Kathryn’s actions, while not honorable, are completely understandable considering there are no choices left to her – even after the marriage, she and Lucien are not safe due to a clause in the documents of her inheritance. A sharp contrast to the nitwit heroine whose brains turns to mush whenever her mate is near, Kathryn wants more out of life than passion in Lucien’s arms, and the choice she makes in her quest for a life of substance is heartbreaking.
Life was going to be so perfect for Lucien – he was going to marry the perfect non-intrusive wife, beget the required heir and, in short, have little to alter his way of life. Then Kathryn shows up and not only shoots those plans to smithereens but makes him examine those new feelings that seem to bloom whenever she’s near. He is determined not to feel any affection for the wife who has deceived him so brutally, but he cannot help the change she effects on him, much to the amusement of his friend Jason Sinclair, the hero of Nothing But Velvet.
The secondary characters also add to this story. There is Lucien’s aunt Winnie who pines for the love that could have been, and Michael, the boy Kathryn insists be rescued from St. Bartholomew’s. Even Kathryn’s uncle is genuinely menacing until the very end, his appearance shattering any illusions of security that Kathryn – and the reader – might feel. And of course, Jason and Velvet Sinclair appear as well, hoping that Lucien and Kathryn’s story will end as well as their own did.
I wasn’t too thrilled with the long separation between hero and heroine, or with the fact that Kathryn keeps a secret from Lucien until they are reunited, but otherwise I can gladly recommend the very engaging Silk and Steel.